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Eur J Immunol. 2002 May;32(5):1420-7.

Application of phage display peptide library to autoimmune diabetes: identification of IA-2/ICA512bdc dominant autoantigenic epitopes.

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Department of Medical Sciences, Endocrinology, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Autoantigenic epitope mapping represents a critical issue in autoimmune diseases. The islet tyrosine phosphatase-like protein IA-2/ICA512bdc is a major autoantigen in type 1 diabetes (IDDM), but the epitopes responsible for autoantibody binding have been only partially defined. The aim of our study was to identify ICA512bdc epitopes, and in particular mini-epitopes, utilizing a novel strategy for autoimmune diseases. The study was performed in three sequential steps: (1) construction of a lambda-phage surface-displayed ICA512bdc cDNA library with the methodology of tagged random priming with peptides displayed as a fusion to the C terminus of the capsid protein D; (2) affinity selection of the resulting library, followed by immunoscreening, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and sequence analysis of positive clones, and (3) radioimmunoprecipitation to detect autoantibodies to the selected clones. This strategy resulted in the identification of two epitopes (IA-2 residues 761 - 964 and 929 - 979), which were recognized by 100 % and 62.9 % ICA512bdc-positive IDDM patients, respectively. Interestingly, the larger clone was detected also by a proportion (16.7 %) of new onset ICA512bdc-negative patients, thus suggesting that this region contains not only the main autoantigenic repertoire of ICA512bdc molecule, but is able to detect IA-2 autoantibodies in even higher percentages of patients. In addition, this study showed the existence of multiple epitopes located in the C-terminal domain of the IA-2 protein, one of which is formed by the 50 C-terminal amino acids, and provided evidence that the strategy used represents a valid tool for identification of epitopes within autoantigenic molecules.

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